Title: The Bond
Character/s: (In this section) Gwaine, Gaius, Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin gets a visitor.
Word Count: 1190
Prompt: 85 Relief
Author's Notes: Not betaed as I've had a ridiculously busy weekend (did get to see Mojo though \o/) and only just made the deadline. This is the next part of 'His' and 'The Cold Light of Morning'
Gwaine paced nervously outside the omega's cell. Leon wasn't back yet, and he was starting to worry about how things might have gone. There was only the slightest chance that the king would listen to him, but they'd had to take it.
Years ago, long before he'd come to Camelot, Gwaine had served as a squire in another kingdom far away. He had been happy enough there at first, working his way towards training to become a knight. The knight he was squiring was a good man, a strong fighter and an excellent swordsman. Young Gwaine had admired him, and wanted to become just like him. Then the man had taken an omega, and for a while everything had carried on being just fine. Until a few months later, when there had been an attack on the castle and the omega had been one of the casualties.
People said it had been a soul bond, because although it was rare for the omega to have magic, if one did then sometimes the bond happened. It had made their love stronger and their commitment to each other deeper and sweeter. And in turn it had made the loss unbearable, changing Gwaine's mentor forever. He had still been a strong fighter, still been an excellent swordsman, but it was as if his soul had twisted into something dark and bitter and the man Gwaine had admired was gone forever. Gwaine learned to fear him. Perhaps the experience had made him tougher and stronger in turn, but the rest of his time at that castle was something he tried not to dwell on.
Arthur reminded him a little of that knight, of how he used to be. It was one of the reasons Gwaine stayed, the fact that he knew he was led by a good man of noble heart, who one day would be a great king. He knew Leon felt the same, and that was why he was up there now in the throne room, trying to offer good counsel to the king. This couldn't be a soul bond, because no magical omega was going to sit around and wait for Uther to burn them, even if they were foolish enough to enter the gates of Camelot in the first place. Even so, it was going to hit Arthur very hard.
Gwaine didn't want to wait around and watch another good man fall apart. He wished Leon would hurry back. He was half-tempted to suggest that the pair of them took the omega and got out of there, let Arthur catch up with them later. But then, Arthur would probably think they'd stolen his mate and run them both through before they could explain.
Finally, he heard footsteps on the stone stairway leading down to the dungeons. It didn't sound like Leon's heavy boots, it was more of a shuffling soft-shoed walk. A moment later the elderly physician came into view, come down to see his ward. Gwaine relaxed a little, though he was half-expecting a swarm of guards to take the omega to the pyre at any moment.
"Gaius. It's not a good time to be visiting the cells."
Gaius waved off his concern. "I want to see Merlin, let me in please."
The omega was up on his feet as soon as he heard Gaius' voice, pulling Leon's cloak around him as best he could and hurrying across to the cell door. There didn't seem to be any danger on either side so Gwaine just shrugged and unlocked it.
"Thank you." Gaius stepped inside and held out his arms. The omega immediately went to him. "Oh, my poor boy, what have they done to you?"
"Hey, we've tried to protect him," Gwaine pointed out indignantly. "Leon's up there now trying to convince the king not to burn him."
"Hmm. Brave. Uther's in a rage, he's not going to listen to anyone at the moment." Gaius told him. He let go of the boy, pushing him back a little so that he could see his condition. "Hasn't anyone even brought you any clothes?"
"The other knight gave me his cloak." The omega was swamped in the folds of red fabric. "Gaius, my heat came early, there wasn't any warning! This wasn't supposed to happen!"
"Don't worry, we'll think of something." Gaius gave a light sniff of the air. "That's a strong bond. You reek of Arthur, it's quite revolting. And you're still in heat?"
"Yes! And it's blocking my... stopping the thing."
Gwaine raised an eyebrow. That admission could have a range of meanings and he wasn't sure he knew what any of them were. Gaius seemed to understand, however, and instantly looked more concerned.
The omega nodded.
"Well... that's not the best news. I'll work on a suppressant and get it down to you as fast as I can." He looked at the cloak. "Perhaps some clothes might be a good idea as well."
"Just mix up the suppressant or I'm not going to need clothes! Hurry!"
"Don't worry," Gaius patted the omega on the shoulder comfortingly.
"Go! The king said he's going to burn me!"
"We'll sort this out," Gaius promised, giving a reassuring smile. It was gone the moment he turned his back on the omega.
Gwaine opened the door for the old physician, then locked it again and followed him to the steps.
"What's his heat stopping?" he asked, curious.
Gaius just waved a hand as if whatever it was were nothing. "Just a medical condition he has. Omega physiology. I'll be back soon."
That didn't really answer anything. The omega had been quite chatty once his mentor had arrived, Gwaine thought, so he went back to lean against the cell door and try to engage him in conversation.
"So, what's this thing your heat is blocking then?"
The omega didn't answer. He walked back to the corner of the cell and settled himself back down.
"Come on, Leon's sticking his neck out for you. If there's something wrong you should tell us. We're on your side."
"You're on Arthur's side. I'm not deaf. But thank you for what you're trying to do. I had..." The omega stopped, and sniffed the air. At the same moment Gwaine was aware of footsteps running down the steps. That definitely wasn't Gaius.
"Arthur!" Merlin was back at the door of the cell in an instant, rattling it, trying to get to his alpha. His relief at seeing Arthur was evident in his voice. However, Gwaine wasn't particularly interested in what the omega was doing any more. There were other more pressing matters to worry about, namely the fact that there was a desperate, furious alpha bearing down on him with an already bloodied sword in his hands.
"Get away from him!"
Gwaine didn't need telling. He didn't know whose blood was on that sword, but he didn't intend adding his own to it. He threw the keys to Arthur, and darted to one side whilst the prince was distracted, using the opportunity to head for the stairs.
He had few illusions that he was going to make it.